Business

PayNow can be further developed: Expert

PayNow, the fund transfer system that allows people to send money to one another using just a mobile or NRIC number, is a great step towards a cashless society.

The next step is to develop it further, so that it can also be used to pay for purchases, even at wet markets, hawker centres and other small businesses, said Standard Chartered chief information officer Michael Gorriz.

For this to happen, he said, the Government should lead an industry initiative to co-develop a standardised system that is convenient and can be used by all merchants and customers, regardless of whom they bank with.

"I would look forward to the Government to take the lead on this...

"We could introduce a standardised system of dynamic QR codes so that the merchant has an app, puts in the amount to charge, and the QR code shows up. You, the customer, then scans the code with your mobile phone and the transfer is done," he said.

A QR, or quick response, code is a type of barcode read by devices.

Another key issue is cost.

One reason many merchants have been reluctant to accept non-cash payments is that they have to pay fees when handling credit card and digital transactions. But, Dr Gorriz noted, PayNow eliminates this problem.

"With PayNow, we have the opportunity to bring the cost of digital transactions down to almost zero, because there is no handler or intermediary.

"You could pay directly from your bank account to the merchant," he said.

Mr Pranav Seth, OCBC Bank's head of e-business, business transformation and fintech and innovation, said a unified QR code "can only spell good news for the industry".

"We believe in open platforms where all merchants and financial institutions can participate in a common payment ecosystem to benefit customers," he said.

Dr Gorriz noted that PayNow also represents Singapore's progress in adopting digital identities.

Another initiative in this area is MyInfo, a government-backed digital vault of Singaporeans' personal data.

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